|Wang a potential starter on short rest for Yankees in Game 4|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 06 October 2007 16:11|
Yankees manager Joe Torre said Saturday that Mike Mussina would be available in relief on Sunday night should Roger Clemens falter. Mussina also would have followed Luis Vizcaino had Friday's 2-1, 11-inning loss gone much longer.
Wang has started on less than four days' rest just once, allowing one hit in seven innings to beat the Orioles on June 6 last year. That outing came three days after he got the final two outs and a save in a 10-inning win at Baltimore.
Wang's sinker was up against Cleveland in the series opener, when he matched his career high by allowing eight runs in a 12-3 loss.
Pitching Wang in Game 4 lines up Andy Pettitte to pitch a potential fifth game. Roger Clemens joked about the way his buddy pitched out of trouble to throw 6 1-3 scoreless innings in Game 2.
``I told Andy he looked great from the stretch since he was in it all night,'' Clemens said.
Pettitte has a $16 million player option for next year and will need to speak with his family before deciding whether to exercise it. The status of Torre, in the final year of his contract, also will play a part in his decision.
``That definitely would be something that I would factor in,'' Pettitte said.
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge isn't thinking of bringing C.C. Sabathia back on short rest for Game 4, opting to use Paul Byrd. Sabathia threw 114 pitches over five innings in the opener and is scheduled to pitch Game 5 - or the AL championship series opener.
``You're talking about taking a viable risk if you're bringing somebody back on three days' rest,'' Wedge said. ``I believe in all our guys. I've got a tremendous amount of confidence in what they're trying to do. I respect the game too much to try to shortchange any of that.''
SHILLING FOR A-ROD: Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who's had a lot of postseason success, came to the defense of Alex Rodriguez, who hasn't.
Rodriguez hit .314 with 54 homers and 156 RBIs in the regular season, but he's 0-for-6 so far in the New York Yankees' AL playoff series against Cleveland. Since Game 4 of the 2004 AL championship series against Boston, he is 5-for-52 with one homer and two RBIs in the postseason.
``Look at what Alex has done this year in New York,'' Schilling said Saturday. ``One of the single best seasons in the history of the game. And the media couldn't wait - couldn't wait - for six at-bats. He's 0-for-6. They had three hits yesterday (as a team).
``The focal point of the New York media is that Alex has screwed it up again. We know as players that's not how it works.''
Schilling is 8-2 with a 2.06 ERA in the postseason during his career, which included a World Series co-MVP with the Diamondbacks in 2001 and his legendary bloody sock performances in Boston's '04 title run.
``I think one of the main ingredients to being good at this time of the year is part of your internal makeup,'' he said. ``I'm not afraid to make mistakes. Not afraid to fail. I've always wanted to be great on this stage, because the postseason is just so different in how I think I perceive it, how people look at it.''
MIGHTY MICAH: Micah Owings got the Babe Ruth treatment. He spent more time talking about his bat than his arm.
Owings was scheduled to start Game 4 for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs if the series went that far. But the pitcher's interview session Saturday focused on his hitting.
The rookie, a slugger in college at Georgia Tech and Tulane, batted .333 (20-for-60) with four homers and 15 RBIs this year.
Owings' best day came on Sept. 27, when he went 4-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs while pitching 6 1-3 innings for Arizona in an 8-0 win over the Pirates. It ended a three-game skid and helped the Diamondbacks hold on for the NL West crown.
``The main thing is, I'm here to pitch,'' Owings said. ``I take care of that stuff first.''
Arizona manager Bob Melvin said he wouldn't hesitate to use Owings as a pinch-hitter - even one day before he pitches.
``No question,'' Melvin said. ``Every day before a game I ask him if he's got his spikes on. He knows that's a little something we do before every game. You always run the risk of using a starting pitcher and potentially have an injury. If I had to I'd probably even pinch-run him. He's that good of an athlete.''
Owings shrugged off any notion that he should hit higher than ninth in a lineup that sometimes lacks consistency.
``I've got a tremendous amount of respect for the guys in our clubhouse,'' he said. ``They've done a great job this year. ... Whenever I get in there I'm just going to enjoy it and do the best I can.''
NO SATISFACTION: Philadelphia closer Brett Myers suggested the Phillies might have been satisfied with just reaching the playoffs.
``I think we won a division championship and have been content with that,'' Myers said. ``Hopefully, we can change that and go out and just win, play like we have played all year instead of worrying about just being the division champs.''
The Phillies trailed 2-0 in their best-of-five NL division series going into Game 3 on Saturday night at Colorado.
``I would hope that everybody in here is happy we're getting into the playoffs but not satisfied,'' slugger Ryan Howard said. ``I'm definitely not satisfied with just making the playoffs. Anybody can just make the playoffs.''
Jimmy Rollins bristled when told of Myers' theory.
``That's his opinion and he's entitled to it. But fortunately, that's not the feeling of everyone else,'' Rollins said.
Ace pitcher Cole Hamels, however, said he understands what Myers is saying.
``I can see that. I think that there is a lot of pressure on trying to make it,'' Hamels said. ``So, that was our main goal, getting to the postseason. I don't think we ever thought of anything after that.
``It's been such a main goal to get there because we've been so close for three years. When you get there, you have to set new goals. Some people take a breath of fresh air once you've made it, but yet you haven't made it at all.''
READY TO GO: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is expected to play Sunday in Game 3 against the Los Angeles Angels even though he banged up his shoulder Friday night.
``He's fine,'' manager Terry Francona said Saturday. ``It's not something that will get in the way of him playing, which is great from our standpoint. I think we all expected him to be a little more tender than he was.''
Pedroia grimaced in pain after diving for a grounder in the second inning of a 6-3 victory in Game 2 that gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. But the rookie remained in the game and got his first postseason hit with a fifth-inning double.
After a long flight to the West Coast, Pedroia took part in Saturday's optional workout and said he felt fine.